Note: This HTML article is abridged from the original in Air News with Air Tech magazine. The magazine article deals mostly with a conceptual design of a, by modern standards rather fanciful, research rocket based on V-2 technology.

Rockets for Research

By Lyn David
Meteorograph and Glider Designer

What exists 100 miles above the earth? Scientific developments such as atomic disintegration and VHF radio have brought this problem into sharper focus now than at any other time in the past decade.

The various elements of the upper atmosphere, the components and constituents of the infinitesimal amount of air remaining at, say, even 20 miles altitude, the temperature, humidity, effects of cosmic rays upon photographic and radio communication equipment, are completely unknown to us; The data that have been given to us as apparently originating in space that has been untouched except for the German giant rockets were evolved through devious indirect measurements and are therefore not wholly reliable and certainly inaccurate.

Flight in the future at supersonic speeds will and must take place outside of the earth’s atmosphere. To this end it is obvious that numerous exploratory flights of all sorts must first take place before scheduled trips, any part of which reach extreme altitudes, can be booked for travelers.

These exploratory flights must be carefully controlled so that the complex recording apparatus can be safely returned to earth for observation and evaluation. Some of the details of the design, construction, operation of a super-speed, super-altitude research rocket are given here.

Rocket Design

Facing a problem of this magnitude it is apparent that the design of such a rocket must include a careful study of features covering the general shape or profile, motive power, internal structure, special disposition of fuel tanks, control apparatus, instrumentation and scientific equipment.

At this date sufficient knowledge has been acquired and disseminated on the structural details of the German V-2 type rockets which can be readily adapted to our own specialized use.

Regardless of the end use of the rocket, it must naturally follow a predetermined design which will inherently be capable of not only reaching the upper limits of the atmosphere, but must also do so in vertical or nearly vertical ascent. The reason for this desired method of performance is the necessity for retrieving the rocket with its valuable payload of equipment and information. Vertical rocket flight is also necessitated by the limited amount of fuel which liquid-fueled rockets can carry. We want to attain maximum altitude. The Germans sacrificed altitude to distance with their war rocket.

Vertical ascent permits a greatly simplified arrangement of radio antennas, equipment.

Taking the V-2 or A-4 rocket as a basis of design, we can immediately establish the size and weight of a prototype research rocket. The explosive warhead in the A-4 weighed about 2000 lbs for a total rocket weight of 27,000 lbs, and a power thrust of 60,000 lbs. It measured 46' long by a 5½' diameter or a ratio of length to diameter of 9:1.

[The remainder of the text of the article is omitted here.]

This article was originally published in the April, 1946, issue of Air News with Air Tech magazine, vol 10, no 4, pp 28-30.
The original article includes a description, an artist's impression, and a blueprint diagram of the proposed research rocket, diagrams of two functional systems in the V-2 (shown), and a phantom drawing of the V-2 (shown.)
There is no legend corresponding to the numeric labels on the phantom drawing
Drawings credited to Lyn Davis, Royal Aeronautical Society (diagrams), British Combine (phantom.)